As we’ve said before, there is no other airplane on the planet as perfect for low and slow, mean, nasty, in-your-face Close Air Support as the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. We can talk about the intricacies of CAS at length, but realistically, it’s all a wash until you get into the cockpit and see for yourself what the environment is like.
This video is courtesy of the 25th Fighter Squadron, a Combat Mission Ready unit with a storied history dating back to January of 1941, when it was activated at Hamilton Field near Novato, California. Flying the famed Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, the 25th began combat operations in September of 1942, flying an escort mission over “The Hump.”
The unit moved its forward operating base to Assam, India, and due to the ruggedness of the terrain where they were flying, the pilots would usually “drag in” on their missions. Henceforth, the 25th would be known as the “Assam Draggins.”
The battle cry of the 25 FS is Pil Sung!, which in Korean means “Certain Victory.”
In the words of Colonel Stephen Renner, former commander of the 25th and now the Vice Commander of the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, “The Pil Sung! war cry is also a powerful component of esprit de corps, and serves to connect members of the 25th Fighter Squadron to each other and [their] mission. Pil Sung! carries a message of identity, vision and commitment…-“
That’s the thing about the community of Hawg pilots. Theirs is a culture unto its own. They have more CAS reps and have more commitment to their mission than (arguably) any other in the fighter community. They have an extreme amount of empathy for those whom they protect–the Marine rifleman, the Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, or whatever ground forces that have called out three words: “Troops In Contact.” It’s who they are and the driving force behind their effectiveness.
So go inside the cockpit with these A-10 pilots as they train for their bread and butter mission.